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Lighthouse at the End of the World: The First English Translation of Verne's Original Manuscript

Overview


At the extreme tip of South America, Staten Island has piercing Antarctic winds, lonely coasts assaulted by breakers, and sailors lost as their vessels smash on the dark rocks. Now that civilization dares to rule here, a lighthouse penetrates the last and wildest place of all. But Vasquez, the guardian of the sacred light, has not reckoned with the vicious, desperate Kongre gang, who murder his two friends and force him out into the ...
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Overview


At the extreme tip of South America, Staten Island has piercing Antarctic winds, lonely coasts assaulted by breakers, and sailors lost as their vessels smash on the dark rocks. Now that civilization dares to rule here, a lighthouse penetrates the last and wildest place of all. But Vasquez, the guardian of the sacred light, has not reckoned with the vicious, desperate Kongre gang, who murder his two friends and force him out into the wilderness. Alone, without resources, can he foil their cruel plans?
 
A gripping tale of passion and perseverance, Verne’s testament novel paints a compelling picture of intrigue and heroism, schemes and calamities. The master storyteller returns here to the theme of civilization against its two oldest enemies: pitiless nature and men's savagery.
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Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal

"[W]e''re in the midst of a Verne renaissance brought on by new manuscripts, improved translations, and scholarly reassessments. . . . Thanks to efforts such as Mr. Butcher''s . . . it''s now possible for the rest of us to see Verne more clearly than ever before.”—John J. Miller, Wall Street Journal

— John J. Miller

Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Lighthouse at the End of the World might be best read under the covers, after bedtime, by flashlight. It is a wondrous, old-fashioned adventure story, likely to bring out the little boy, the castaway, the pirate and the lighthouse-keeper in every reader."—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times Book Review

— Susan Salter Reynolds

Michael Crichton
"William Butcher's text has an easy, graceful rhythm; it preserves the allusive complexity of the original prose."
Frederick Paul Walter
"A lively modern translation of one of Verne's tensest, tautest thrillers, a lean, ferocious, breakneck yarn readers will devour in a single evening. William Butcher renders action scenes with great color and dash, dialogues with sparkling fluency. . . . His research, commentaries, and analyses are riveting new contributions to our understanding of this Protean novelist. Outstanding entertainment, admirable scholarship."

Frederick Paul Walter, Verne translator and specialist

SFRA Review

“It’s a cracking good novel, and William Butcher’s commentary is superb.”—SFRA Review

BookReview.com

“This book is a psychological thriller. . . . Butcher’s translation is thankfully the inverse of his last name, preserving Verne’s voice: concise and clear scenes that follow a compelling narrative, a prose that may be old-fashioned but with many hints of elegance. For long-time fans of Verne’s work, Butcher has also strengthened the text with supplemental research, literary analysis on word choice and an introduction showing how the book fits into the Verne canon. . . . Lighthouse is yet another reminder that here is an author who has stood the test of time.”—BookReview.com.
Michael Crichton

“William Butcher’s text has an easy, graceful rhythm; it preserves the allusive complexity of the original prose.” —Michael Crichton
Frederick Paul Walter

“A lively modern translation of one of Verne’s tensest, tautest thrillers, a lean, ferocious, breakneck yarn readers will devour in a single evening. William Butcher renders action scenes with great color and dash, dialogues with sparkling fluency. . . . His research, commentaries, and analyses are riveting new contributions to our understanding of this Protean novelist. Outstanding entertainment, admirable scholarship.”—Frederick Paul Walter, Verne translator and specialist
Wall Street Journal - John J. Miller

"[W]e're in the midst of a Verne renaissance brought on by new manuscripts, improved translations, and scholarly reassessments. . . . Thanks to efforts such as Mr. Butcher's . . . it's now possible for the rest of us to see Verne more clearly than ever before.”—John J. Miller, Wall Street Journal
Los Angeles Times Book Review - Susan Salter Reynolds

"Lighthouse at the End of the World might be best read under the covers, after bedtime, by flashlight. It is a wondrous, old-fashioned adventure story, likely to bring out the little boy, the castaway, the pirate and the lighthouse-keeper in every reader."—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly

Fans of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seaand Around the World in Eighty Daysmay find this work from Verne (1828-1905) austere. In 1859, three sailors arrive on an isolated island to man a new lighthouse at the wreck-prone tippy tip of South America. They soon discover a band of "egregious criminals," led by "dangerous evildoer" Kongre, who have been tricking ships into running aground, killing the survivors and taking the loot. When two lighthouse men go to assist a ship and are killed, serious trouble ensues. Characters are cardboard; the action slight, though violent; the plot simple; and the encounter between decency and evil on an island one-dimensional. Posthumously published in 1905, the book was translated into English in 1923, but this is the first English translation from Verne's original manuscript. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803260078
  • Publisher: UNP - Bison Books
  • Publication date: 9/28/2007
  • Series: Bison Frontiers of Imagination Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 210
  • Sales rank: 822,395
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Jules Verne (1828–1905), the most translated author in the world, wrote The Meteor Hunt (Nebraska 2006). In this first-ever publication in English of Verne’s original manuscript, leading Verne scholar William Butcher not only translates magisterially but provides a full critical edition with penetrating literary analysis and revealing annotation. Amongst Butcher’s many publications are Jules Verne: The Definitive Biography and editions of Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas and Around the World in Eighty Days.

Biography

The creator of the roman scientifique, the popular literary genre known today as science fiction, Jules Gabriel Verne was born in the port town of Nantes, France, in 1828. His father, Pierre, was a prominent lawyer, and his mother, Sophie, was from a successful ship-building family. Despite his father's wish that he pursue law, young Jules was fascinated by the sea and all things foreign and adventurous. Legend holds that at age eleven he ran away from school to work aboard a ship bound for the West Indies but was caught by his father shortly after leaving port. Jules developed an abiding love of science and language from a young age. He studied geology, Latin, and Greek in secondary school, and frequently visited factories, where he observed the workings of industrial machines. These visits likely inspired his desire for scientific plausibility in his writing and perhaps informed his depictions of the submarine Nautilus and the other seemingly fantastical inventions he described.

After completing secondary school, Jules studied law in Paris, as his father had before him. However, during the two years he spent earning his degree, he developed more consuming interests. Through family connections, he entered Parisian literary circles and met many of the distinguished writers of the day. Inspired in particular by novelists Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas (father and son), Verne began writing his own works. His poetry, plays, and short fiction achieved moderate success, and in 1852 he became secretary of the Théâtre lyrique. In 1857 he married Honorine Morel, a young widow with two children. Seeking greater financial security, he took a position as a stockbroker with the Paris firm Eggly and Company. However, he reserved his mornings for writing. Baudelaire's recently published French translation of the works of Edgar Allan Poe, as well as the days Verne spent researching points of science in the library, inspired him to write a new sort of novel: the roman scientifique. His first such novel, Five Weeks in a Balloon, was an immediate success and earned him a publishing contract with the important editor Pierre-Jules Hetzel.

For the rest of his life, Verne published an average of two novels a year; the fifty-four volumes published during his lifetime, collectively known as Voyages Extraordinaires, include his best-known works, Around the World in Eighty Days and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Begun in 1865 and published to huge success in 1869, Twenty Thousand Leagues has been translated into 147 languages and adapted into dozens of films. The novel also holds the distinction of describing a submarine twenty-five years before one was actually constructed. As a tribute to Verne, the first electric and nuclear submarines were named Nautilus. In 1872 Verne settled in Amiens with his family. During the next several years he traveled extensively on his yachts, visiting such locales as North Africa, Gibraltar, Scotland, and Ireland. In 1886 Verne's mentally ill nephew shot him in the leg, and the author was lame thereafter. This incident, as well as the tumultuous political climate in Europe, marked a change in Verne's perspective on science, exploration, and industry. Although not as popular as his early novels, Verne's later works are in many ways as prescient. Touching on such subjects as the ill effects of the oil industry, the negative influence of missionaries in the South Seas, and the extinction of animal species, they speak to concerns that remain urgent in our own time.

Verne continued writing actively throughout his life, despite failing health, the loss of family members, and financial troubles. At his death in 1905 his desk drawers contained the manuscripts of several new novels. Jules Verne is buried in the Madeleine Cemetery in Amiens.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

Good To Know

In 1848, Verne got his start writing librettos for operettas.

When Verne's father found out that his son would rather write than study law, he cut him off financially, and Jules was forced to support himself as a stockbroker -- a job he hated but was fairly good at. During this period, he sought advice and inspiration from authors Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo.

Verne stands as the most translated novelist in the world -- 148 languages, according to UNESCO statistics.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      February 8, 1828
    2. Place of Birth:
      Nantes, France
    1. Date of Death:
      March 24, 1905
    2. Place of Death:
      Amiens, France
    1. Education:
      Nantes lycée and law studies in Paris

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